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Leading for All

Leading for All
How to Create Truly Inclusive and Excellent Schools

November 2020 | 224 pages | Corwin

Develop inclusive and equitable school communities where all learners thrive

Research has shown that inclusive education results in better academic outcomes for ALL students, not just those identified with disabilities, by promoting self-efficacy, improving social and emotional health, and consistently implementing research-based instructional strategies. Still, many schools rely on deeply ingrained, segregated practices that fail to serve all students.

Leading for All is a practical guide that provides a clear pathway for educators to develop a more inclusive school community from start to finish. Authors Jennifer Spencer-Iiams and Josh Flosi share lessons learned from spending nearly a decade building district schools where all students are served in their neighborhood school and in classrooms with their general education peers.

Features include:

  • Three focus areas to guide change: Creating Inclusive Cultures, Improving Instructional Practices, and Increasing Student Voice
  • 7 Components of Inclusive and Equitable Learning Communities
  • Supporting resources for promoting inclusion throughout the school day, including co-curricular activities and transportation
  • Stories of real students and teachers and the actions that impacted their success

Educators and school leaders want to create inclusive and excellent educational experiences for all students, but they do not always know how to proceed. Leading for All provides a model, stories, strategies, and clear evidence that it can be done effectively.

Foreword by Paula Kluth
Chapter 1 - Finding Our Why
Finding Our Why

Why Inclusion?

Academic Research Supports Inclusion

Inclusion and the Whole Child Movement

Equity and Social Justice

The Perspective of Families

Moving from Why to Why Not?


Chapter 2 - What Inclusive Means
What We Mean by Inclusive Education

A Continuum of Inclusive Practices

A Summary of Changes Over the Past 8 Years

What Inclusion Looks Like


Chapter 3 - The Foundations of Inclusive Education
Putting Our Goals on Paper

Guiding Principles for Our Work

Kortney’s Story

Chapter 4 - Creating Inclusive Cultures
True Friendships

Providing Supports in the General Education Classroom

Shared Ownership and Co-Teaching

The Power of Language

All Students Participate in Co-Curricular Activities


Chapter 5 - Improving Instructional Practices
Frameworks that Guide our Instructional Practices

Learning Targets

Engagement Strategies

Access to Grade-Level Content

Common and Consistent Data

Analyzing Data to Inform Instruction

Purpose of Evaluation


Chapter 6 -- The Components of Inclusive and Equitable Learning Communities
Effective Physical Spaces

Teaching Common Expectations

Rituals, Routines and Recognition

Engagement Strategies for All Students

Teaching Social-Emotional Skills

Restorative Practices

Relationships with High Expectations


Chapter 7 - Increasing Student Voice
Growth Mindset Revisited

Student Voice and Behavior

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Students as Leaders of Change

Students and Their IEPs


Chapter 8 - Supporting Behavior in Inclusive Schools

Team “Student”

The Intensive Capacity-Building Team

Thinking Inclusively About Outside Placement


Chapter 9 - Leadership Moves to Make it Happen
Communication and Relationships

The Role of the Central Office

Salary Structures, Job Descriptions and Union Contracts to Support Inclusive Practices

Structures for Professional Learning that Support Inclusive Practices

Structures for Leadership and Stakeholder Input

Partnerships with Other Districts and Outside Organizations

Closing Thoughts about Leadership Moves


Chapter 10 - What’s Next?

Inclusive Early Childhood Education

Adult Transition Services & Inclusive College Opportunities

Inclusive Teacher Education

The Mental Health System

Inclusive Practices in the Time of Distance Learning and COVID-19

Closing Thoughts



"Jennifer Spencer-Iiams and Josh Flosi's journey through inclusion is quite remarkable. They chart a path we should all embrace and share the context and tools to support us effectively. They present a great shared text for teacher teams considering shifts to more inclusive practices."

Peter Dillon, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools
Berkshire Hills Regional School District / Shaker Mountain School Union, MA

"This is a clear guide for principals, central office leaders, parents, and special education advocacy groups to use while implementing changes that foster a more inclusive environment for special education students on campus and in the community."

Dr. Anthony Mays, Senior Director of Schools Division with the Harris County Department of Education
University of Houston Downtown, TX

"Leading for All provides a clear framework that all educators should use to improve inclusive practices. The authors have a clear vision for transformational change that will create inclusive school communities which starts at the classroom level.

Ronald D. Wahlen, Director of Digital Teaching and Learning
Durham Public Schools, NC

"Leading for All is a very readable book that integrates a wide-range of current knowledge as to how to create an inclusive learning environment for all students, not just special education students. The authors take us along on their journey, recognizing that this magnitude of change is not easy but is a moral imperative, and provide us with the information to undertake such change.

Linda R. Vogel, Professor and Program Coordinator
University of Northern Colorado, CO

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